Pairing physical activity and counseling: A self-management intervention to improve on-task behavior



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This study was designed to examine the effects of pairing the empirically based intervention of self-management of attention with a physical activity (i.e., walking) component to improve on-task behavior. Participants were three secondary students receiving special education services for a behavioral disorder (e.g., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and currently receiving counseling as a related service. The self-management program included two components: a behavior rating scale and a self-monitoring form. Physical activity was integrated at different levels; including no physical activity, physical activity alone, and physical activity combined with cognitive behavioral aimed counseling to teach the self-management program and instill self-regulations skills. The participant students’ on-task behavior was evaluated with a multiple-baseline design across participants. The research findings indicated that when engaged in physical activity alone, the participant students exhibited medium to large effect sizes in the increasing of their percentage of observed time on-task. Results also yielded large effect sizes in the increasing of their percentage of observed time on-task when physical activity was paired with the self-management program.
Findings suggest that physical activity and self-management are effective interventions for increasing adolescent students diagnosed with ADHD’s observed time on task. However, results show that the most effective phase for all three students was pairing the physical activity intervention with the self-management program. These findings shed light on the importance of building self-regulation skills in students with behavioral disorders and the need to incorporate physical activity within students’ daily educational routine.



Physical activity, Self-management, On-task, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)